MWBE legislation is going to change job creation in NYS
Nayaba Arinde | 4/12/2011, 5:28 p.m.
A curious term "minority," oft times used with inaccurate reference in this current-day lexicon to describe non-white folk. That being said, accepted as its use is in so many political, economic and social circles, on Wednesday, Governor David Paterson introduced his minority- and women-owned business (MWBE) bill to "increase the utilization of minority and woman-owned business enterprise underwriters for state debt offerings."
This legislation seeks to provide a framework so that state agencies and public authorities can be held accountable for their commitment to MWBE participation and diversity in the area of procurement.
The magnanimous specter of late Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson loomed over New York State this week, as Gov. David Paterson introduced his legislation.
"[Mayor Jackson] was an amazing man," Paterson told the Amsterdam News. "He explained to me how this all should work in the year 2000. He was a great man, and it was all down to him."
Paterson's MWBE plan looks closely at the blueprint Jackson laid out for Atlanta in the 1970s.
"It is similar. He explained back in the year 2000 how this all should work, and that's what got me interested in MWBEs, talking to him," said the governor.
In a statement from Paterson's office, the governor noted, "The MWBE Task Force issued its final report on March 24. As part of its report, the Task Force recommended that legislation be enacted to increase accountability on the part of state agencies and public authorities regarding their compliance with existing provisions of law pertaining to participation by MWBEs and to promote the state's utilization of MWBE and non-MWBE firms that have sound diversity practices."
Asked if this legislation will be a paper tiger or actually have teeth, Paterson told the paper, "One of the things that I remember was when David Dinkins became mayor, he raised the MWBE in New York City for four years to a very acceptable and very fair level, and when he left, Mayor Giuliani canceled the plan in a day and MWBE in New York City has been terrible up to this day.
"There are very few contracts in New York City. So in two years, I have raised the MWBE standards in New York to make us one the top 10 states. We were in the bottom 10 two years ago. And for debt issuance, we went from 4 percent to 24 percent, and for the rate of MWBE procurements, we went from 5 percent to 17 and a half percent. So, we are doing very well. But when I realized that I was not running for governor--I don't want anyone with a stroke of a pen to eliminate all of our work over the last two years. So, the legislation is designed to provide institutional teeth to what we have been able to a accomplish so that no one can walk in the door and shut it down."
In terms of securing the process, Paterson explained that there will be a director of the MWBE development office who will set regulations for the agencies to examine the diversity of companies who want to do business with the state of New York.